According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first four documented cases of locally transmitted Zika virus occurred within the continental United States.
Reportedly, none of Zika virus victims had traveled to Latin America or the Caribbean, areas that are considered to be Zika-prevalent. Officials for the CDC and representatives for Florida health have concluded that victims in Florida have been infected by local mosquitoes in Miami.
First cases of Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental U.S. confirmed in Florida. https://t.co/OpXOmsHTsu
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 29, 2016
Reports from The Daily Caller quoted Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the CDC. In reference to visiting Florida, Dr. Frieden told reporters, “Zika is here now, we don’t currently see a situation where we would advise people not to travel there or advise pregnant women not to travel there.”
Florida health officials have stated that the four patients who have been infected on U.S. soil appear to have contracted the disease early in July. All four of the victims, one woman and three men, apparently acquired it in a small neighborhood in Miami. As of now, health officials are not advising people to avoid that particular neighborhood.
Mosquito control efforts were intensified and no additional cases have been reported in the area. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to accept blood donations from the Miami area until those donations are screened for the virus.
Health officials have declined to confirm whether not the woman who contracted the virus is currently pregnant. According to medical officials and the CDC, the Zika virus in pregnant women can be linked to fetal deaths and devastating birth defects.
In the continental United States, there are currently 1,661 cases of the virus and another 4,729 cases have been reported in American territories. Many of these cases are believed to be the result of sexual transmission. A vast majority of the cases occurred in individuals who traveled to areas of the world where the Zika virus is prevalent, like Brazil.
In America, there have been 12 confirmed cases of babies born with Zika-related microcephaly. Microcephaly is a neurological condition, considered to be very rare, in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex. Researchers have long warned that mosquitoes carrying the virus would eventually spread to America. Research has put a special emphasis on Florida in the Gulf Coast states.
— NEJM (@NEJM) July 30, 2016
A recent study published by the National Center for Atmospheric Research confirms that mosquitoes carrying the virus could spread as far as New York City this summer, if the weather continues to be warmer than average.
The mosquito that carries the Zika virus is known as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This type of mosquito typically lives in tropical climates. Researchers believe that the virus will not spread as prolifically in the United States as it has in the Caribbean and Latin America, because most Americans live and work within air-conditioned environments. The aforementioned study also found that only small numbers of the mosquitoes could survive in most of North America through the spring and fall, when temperatures begin to cool down.
Budgetary requirements have already been addressed as researchers prepare to study American Olympic athletes who contract the virus while competing in the Rio Olympics in Brazil.
There’s currently no vaccine to protect people against the Zika virus. According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the virus is by avoiding mosquito bites altogether. Mosquitoes that spread the virus bite mostly during the daytime. People should also know that the Zika virus can be spread sexually. It is very important that men be aware of the sexual spread of the Zika virus, in specific when dealing with women who are pregnant or could become pregnant.
Gov. Rick Scott holds news conference on Zika virus https://t.co/MTf9LJZssm
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) July 29, 2016
To protect yourself and your family from the Zika virus, take measures to prevent mosquito bites with the use of mosquito repellents and control mosquitoes that may get inside your house for the prevalence on or near the property with natural or chemical pesticides. All the common measures for mosquito control will work to prevent the Zika virus, but, as is true of all things, no preventative measures will work if they go unused. Americans are encouraged to take action.
Symptoms for the Zika virus can include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. People who contract the virus very rarely feel ill enough to visit the hospital, but it is important that those who believe they could be infected with the virus visit their healthcare providers as soon as possible.
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